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More lighting fixtures—both interior and exterior—are being installed on new homes than there were a decade ago, according to the latest Home Innovation Annual Builder Practices Survey. Some configurations have seen more growth than others.

According to survey data, the average number of interior lighting fixtures per new single-family detached house grew from 27 fixtures in 2005 to 37 in 2018 fixtures. In multifamily, the number grew from 16 interior fixtures per unit to 25 fixtures in the same period.

This increase in fixtures means lighting has gotten the attention of builders and developers as a key differentiator—it’s no longer just builder-grade fixtures that the buyer can plan to update once they realize the lighting in their new home can be improved.

The accompanying graph compares the average number of interior fixtures installed in new homes in 2005 and 2018 for each fixture style, based on Builder Practices Reports. There has been significant growth in recessed ceiling lights, undercounter lighting, and pendants. On the opposite end of the market growth spectrum were bath vanity lighting, track lighting, and wall sconces.

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A few factors have markedly influenced lighting choices by new-home builders:

  • Ceilings are now, on average, taller in new homes than they were in the mid-2000s. There are more 9-foot ceilings in single-family homes than 8-foot ceilings, giving a little more room for suspended lights, such as pendants.
  • LED technology has created opportunities for lighting manufacturers and designers to innovate. Compared with older technologies, LEDs can be small, more durable, more energy efficient, and have very good color rendition.
  • Automated lighting control is now a common feature in homes, and mobile and cellular technology gives occupants the ability to control lighting from anywhere.
  • Outdoor lighting has also experienced a bit of a renaissance, increasing from about five fixtures per house, on average, to 11 during the 2005 to 2018 period. This seems to respond to the increased attention given to outdoor living space and features over the past decade.

Looking back at the 2005 Builder Practices Lighting Report, the average number of walkway, path, and stair light fixtures has doubled. Flood and spot lamps have nearly tripled. On the other hand, while post-mounted lights have seen modest gains, they seem to have missed the lighting “boom.” For more details on trends from the Annual Builder Practices Survey, visit